There are 11 games in the books — and six more to go. While we may not be right at the halfway mark of the 2021 regular season, the Kansas City Chiefs are taking their bye week in Week 11, so it's a good time to dish out some awards.
The Arrowhead Pride writing staff members each had one vote for our seven midseason awards. There are 12 contributors, so there will be 12 votes tallied for each award. In this post, we'll reveal our defensive player of the year to this point of the season.
VOTING: Jones (5), Sneed (5), Frank Clark (1), Tyrann Mathieu (1)
It's a fair argument between defensive lineman Jones and cornerback L'Jarius Sneed for the Chiefs' bye-week defensive player of the year. Both players made statements in Sunday's victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and it is hard to see the defense outlasting another middling offensive performance without either of them.
The case for Jones
Jones turned in one of the Chiefs' best pass-rushing performances of this generation with 3.5 sacks (though, please, don't tell him that I'm using that number). His return to defensive tackle also seems to have been the tide that raises all ships, with the entire unit appearing to reap the benefits. Jones has 6.5 sacks with 22 pressures in nine games. He is also doing this while playing through torn ligaments in his wrist — which caused him to miss two games earlier in the season.
The case for Sneed
Sneed was simply a human highlight reel on Sunday, and he has come on strong after what some considered a disappointing start to his sophomore season. His tackle of Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup for a 3-yard loss on the second drive could not have been choreographed any better by WWE. Sneed later sealed the win by picking off quarterback Dak Prescott on the Cowboys' final offensive play. He also had a key interception off of Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love in Week 9. In addition to the two interceptions, Sneed also boasts a sack and six tackles for loss.
Also receiving votes were Clark and Mathieu. Clark is playing his best stretch of football as a Chief, with two sacks on 15 pressures with two forced fumbles in eight games. Mathieu continues to be the heart and soul of the defense who opposing quarterbacks must always account for. He had a pick-six off of Lamar Jackson in Week 2.
Who is your bye week defensive player of the year?